It was 80 degrees here yesterday, and quite muggy. The sun was shining, but it was clear that a storm and rain was heading in so after work I hurried to the barn. I really wanted to ride outside in one of the two large outdoor arenas (the reason I board there really!).
After tacking up one of the other boarders kindly moved her mare from the jumping arena (she was just turning her out), and Pippi and I entered. The surface was really hard after the recent bad weather, and it had not been worked up at all. After lunging in both direction, which I always do to check Pippi out and let her get her crazy out if need be, I mounted. Pippi was not super forward on the lunge, but once my butt hit the saddle it became clear that I had some power underneath me. After trotting for quite a while in both directions, and holding Pippi back I decided to let her go, and Oh Boy!
I really didnt like the surface in that arena, so after another boarder was done in the flat arena I chose to ride over there hoping that some of the power was Pippi not liking the surface. The other boarder left the gate open, and since I was mounted and the gate drags I could not close it without getting off. I decided to leave it, and see how Pippi would act with me riding by it. Once I came around the other side I saw that the gate there was open too. Since many dressage arenas are open I figured this was a good test for us, and left them both.
We are still working on soft bends, and straightness, and so we trotted around and did lots of voltes, circles and serpentines. Pippi was still very strong, and broke to canter a few times. When I let her canter, it was incredibly powerful. Not at any time did I feel out of control, but boy did she fly! I was very proud of my ability to slow her canter, and when asked ( I did have to really ask) she came back to me. The difference between the canter on the long sides versus the short sides of the arena were huge! And it was a thrill to know that I had a working canter, and an extended canter, and that the difference was so clear. I wish someone had filmed us, because I would have loved to see if it looked like it felt.
At this point Pippi was hot and sweaty, and the flies were bothering her. Ever the queen she was throwing her head up and down, and ducking and acting a nut. I made her work anyway, but the fun was over. I will be giving her a hair cut this week. I love her mane, but the length and thickness add to Pippis discomfort and makes her very hot. So its coming off! I have a lesson with Jennifer Roth again on Friday, so I will try to get it trimmed ahead of that. I really dont want to, so I may either wait to the last moment or get it over with asap.
Here is the hot and sweaty Queen: